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I agree it's all about context. Cussing is generally unacceptable, but the consequences should depend on the what, why and where.  A single slip is much different than an adult leader that repeatedly uses inappropriate language in front of the scouts.

 

There is also the problem that not everyone agrees on what is unacceptable. Is "dang it" OK? What about "piss off"? "Frack" (thank you Battlestar Galactica) and "stuff it"? All four are words I remember kids (including me) getting chewed out for using by some adults, while other adults said they were fine to use (and who used them themselves - OK, maybe not Frack :) ).

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We use the rule of thumb, if you wouldn't say it in front of your priest, rabbi, etc., then don't say it. ;)

Have you spent much time around priests?  Our last pastor swore like a sailor, as did my uncle (who had been a sailor before he was a priest).

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Dang it? Not likely to raise eye brows.

 

Frack? We know what they are substituting it for so that would raise eyebrows.

 

Foreign words for English words? May sound nice in French but it still means *#%?.

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It's not the worst thing for boys to discover this flaw in a leader.

 

It's better if they boys discover him trying to contritely to improve.

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When we begin to expect perfection from our boys, we can also expect perfection from our leaders.  Zero tolerance for failure.

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I "do my best" not to. I deal with Explorers, not to excuse it, they are a bit older, it's not exactly words they don't here often. Some of them provocate and I profane. I have a very trying young man at the moment who needs to do a lot of growing up pretty quickly, he's 14, and possibly the most difficult Explorer I've ever had, his behaviour is off the scale. Do you have ones where you seem to be calling their name the whole night? One of them. Last night was worse as we met up with another unit, and the alpha male Explorer of that unit took exception to him, and they and their mates, seemed to gravitate toward each other all night, metaphorically butting heads. Another 1/2 hour, or me not intervening and taking them both to one side, and I reckon a brawl might have happened. Both were getting the "not expected behaviour" speech but the little sh...darling kept interrupting me, I swore at him. If memory serves, to paraphrase "for flips sake, just shut for up a minute".

 

I tried to do my best. I failed. I shall try harder next time. Looks like for some of you, there should not be a next time. Ho hum.

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:)  If I use strong language, the boys know I am ticked off.  Normally they know I'm mad when I either raise my voice, become sharp with my words or simply stare in silence.   Yet the most powerful "statement" one can make at a difficult time is a "sigh". 

 

If one as garnered up leadership with the boys, you seriously like them and take care of them, look out for their welfare, and are trustworthy to them, when they do something stupid or about to do something stupid, and you intervene with a sigh and disappointment, there are no strong words that will top that.

 

That old proverb about counting to 10 before reacting really applies well to this issue.  Give oneself an opportunity to think clearly before reacting.  A lot of times, kids are pushing buttons just for fun and if they get a rise out of you, they win.

 

We had a guest speaker come in for the program and I don't use "sign's up" in the troop very often, if at all.  I got up, waited for quiet in silence.  Then spoke softly an introduction of the speaker.   She started out and the material she had to work with was a bit dry for the boys but she was doing very well considering.  The boys started getting a bit noisy and so when she paused I simply called out "HEY!"  It caught their attention.  Then in a quiet voice once more I said, "A little respect here for our speaker would be expected of a scout, Gentlemen."  They remained quiet for the rest of the presentation. 

 

Had I resorted to strong language, it would have been something predictable to them, That would have been "normal" for them to have some adult rant a bit here, but when one does the unpredictable, they don't know what to do with it?  :) 

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Ok,. I amend my original statement about swearing in foreign languages...if you swear in @@ianwilkins English is does sound better than American English. ;)

 

Some how, "I don't give a toss" sounds much better than the American equivalent. ;)

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Adults set the example. What ever excuse you allow yourself, the scouts will use themselves. Not just with swearing, but everything. I asked the adults to never yell for any reason beyond warning someone of some danger. It wasn't long before our scouts also used a quiet tone during the business of taking care of their scouts. 

 

There is one place I would turn my back on scouts swearing; high adventure camp sites are typically very tight, so tents are set up very close. Provided they are keeping their voices low, I let them have their privacy. 

 

Barry

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Swearing in other languages is still swearing...especially Italian! :)

 

I try not to around the boys but may mutter under my breath and apologize. I am less tolerant with more blasphemous swearing than scatological. If someone has cut them selves badly, crushed their hand in the trailer hitch, or is on fire I cut the boys and myself some slack. I do tell the boys that Gentlemen do not swear but there are exceptions such as being shot in the vitals or traumatic amputation of a major limb--and if they save it for such occasions it will seem more powerful and will release some stress.

 

I do actually say things like "Dang it all to Heck" and "What the Dang" to try to stop. I seem to swear at computers more than other things...

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I seem to swear at computers more than other things...

For me it's plumbing. My kids know this well and speak of it to my embarrassment. 

 

Barry

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The exception is stepping on a Lego in bare feet. Any parent of boys should understand swearing is unavoidable in that situation.

 

Don't get me swearing!!! I will throw every 4 letter word out that I can think of!

 

No none of us is are perfect but we are examples we are who some of the boys look up to.  My wife loves Mexican food and we have 2 places in town and they stay fairly busy.  I don't drink beer but when I do its Dos Equis at a Mexican Restaurant.  I live in a fairly small town, population of 12,345 and all it takes is one person seeing me drink a beer and I am going to be labeled some raging alcoholic.  So I save the Beer for when I am Memphis.

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Somewhere in my 20's I picked up swearing as a pretty bad habit, it is finally wearing off over the last several years. 

 

When it comes to scouts, I really don't worry about their language very much, it has never gotten to the point where it would bother me.  There are times when an expletive is just the right word.  I suppose, if I were a scoutmaster and the swearing got excessive or inappropriate for the situation, there are several points of the scout law than can be discussed in a scoutmaster conference.

 

It is funny though, when they do swear, and they think you, the adult, heard them, there is that look, like, what is he going to say, like they are waiting to be reprimanded. 

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I don't drink beer but when I do its Dos Equis at a Mexican Restaurant.  I live in a fairly small town, population of 12,345 and all it takes is one person seeing me drink a beer and I am going to be labeled some raging alcoholic.  So I save the Beer for when I am Memphis.

 

I'm sure there are UK scout leaders that don't drink, I don't drink much, it's got to be said, but we quite often go to the pub after the meeting for a pint of beer. Maybe that's why we don't get many volunteers..."sheesh, if he needs a drink after a 2 hour meeting...I don't need that in my life!"  ;)

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